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4 Japanese Films To See Before You Move to Japan

Adjusting to a new culture is one of the biggest challenges when moving abroad. There are so many ways to prepare for your new life and researching the culture is a great place to start. This (luckily for you) includes watching films, so grab the popcorn and let the research commence and where better place to start than Japan!

Japanese films have a fantastic reputation and whilst there is a pretty endless list of great Japanese films out there we have managed to narrow it down to what we consider three films you simply have to see.


1. Seven Samurai

Often acknowledged as one of the greatest masterpieces in film history, which has gone on to inspire hundreds of films, the 1954 classic from Akira Kurosawa is a combination of emotion, high energy and interesting characters. Set in 1600’s a small village that is seeking protection after a number of attacks hire seven “ronin” which includes a swordsman “Toshiro” who is desperate to become a hero.






2. Spirited Away 

A 2001 Japanese classic animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s all about Chihiro, a ten-year-old girl who is leaving everything she knows behind as she move homes with her parents. Whilst in a rather unusual restaurant she wanders off meeting a Haku who explains they have just entered a whole new world which is a holiday resort for spirits and her parents have now been turned into pigs. The film has a strong but interesting theme of capitalism and wasteful consumption all from a child’s point of view. It’s even been referred to as the modern-day Alice in Wonderland!







3. Sonatine 

An absolute classic when it comes to Japanese film. This 1993 film directed by Takeshi Kitano won numerous awards and became Kitano’s most successful film. The film is based on the main character Murakawa Kitano who is a powerful gangster who travels to Okinawa to clear up a dispute between two rival gangs, but the task proves anything but easy as he soon realises he has been set up.


4. Lost In Translation 

Not a Japanese film exactly but brilliant viewing nonetheless! An aging American action movie star played by Bill Murray travels to Tokyo and develops an unlikely bond with a young woman (Scarlett Johansson). Together they play out the experience of an American in Tokyo, they suffer both confusion and hilarity as they battle a serious language barrier. A must see before you jet off!







The first three films are world famous Japanese classics that you would be silly not to watch at least once. Even though at the end of the day they are films, it is a good lesson in Japanese culture. Plus, what might seem more surprising is that Japan is gradually becoming a much more popular choice to emigrate to amongst foreigners. There are now over 2 million migrants in Japan in 2010 and since then the numbers have been steadily increasing.

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